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Geospatial analysis of pollen records from the Yucatán peninsula, Mexico

Alicia Carrilo-Bastos, Gerald A. Islebe and Nuria Torrescano-Valle
Vegetation History and Archaeobotany
Vol. 21, No. 6 (November 2012), pp. 429-437
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43554374
Page Count: 9
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Geospatial analysis of pollen records from the Yucatán peninsula, Mexico
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Abstract

Changes in distribution of semi-evergreen forest in the Yucatán peninsula and variation of precipitation during the late Holocene were inferred using a geographical information system. Deterministic methods for spatial interpolation using fossil pollen data from seven cores elucidated environmental changes. The changes in the distribution of the semi-evergreen forest allowed to us infer variations in precipitation in the area and to distinguish whether changes of forest cover are a consequence of climate and/or of human activities. The reconstruction of the Preclassic period (at 550 and 50 B.C.) indicates higher precipitation than at present and suggests a more closed vegetation cover. Around A.D. 450 the vegetation acquired an open character indicating a reduction in precipitation. During this time the decrease in forest was not homogeneous in the Yucatán peninsula, indicating human impacts in certain areas. A reduction in forest cover but not a complete deforestation of the region is assessed during the Classic period (A.D. 450). The reconstruction of A.D. 950 shows the recovery of the forest and is related to the Medieval warm period. Geographical information systems are useful tools to reconstruct the spatial history of the vegetation of the Yucatán peninsula during the late Holocene.

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